In effort to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued new guidelines as of last Friday. We all know that New Yorkers are now required to wear masks in public places when they cannot maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from one another. This is a common issue for any New Yorker who must use public transportation, anyone who takes a leisure walk and winds up encountering others, or when doing essential grocery shopping. Although this is a common sight in Asia, it is now becoming the new fashion accessory and part of New York City’s foreseeable future. The following options should help you figure out what best serves your needs, since not all masks are created equal.  I have you covered, so read on.  


These disposable masks should mainly be reserved for medical personnel, especially since they are in short supply. They basically filter up to 95% of small and large particles and block germs when worn correctly. They are also used by those who work with dust and mold and for environmental emergencies. Although they protect against particles, they are not effective against gases and vapors.  I happen to have one of these and find it to be extremely uncomfortable and unattractive as well.  The tight fit, which helps block the particles, is exactly what aggravates the skin.  The elastic straps wound up making marks on my face, which took a few hours to disappear, while the metal on the nose made an indentation smack in the middle of my nose. For the average person, there is no need to wear this mask, so save these for those who require them.

P100 reusable gas masks

These are effective for painters or anyone exposed to lead, asbestos, solvents, and chemicals. It’s offers good protection for manual laborers who are exposed to dangerous chemicals on their job site.  They are expensive and effective but also not necessary for most people. 

Full face respirators

These reusable powered air purifiers are worn by painters to protect from gases and vapors since they protect eyes as well. They can be a better fit for anyone who has breathing issues and cannot wear an inexpensive mask. They cost about $120 and upwards.

Disposable surgical masks

These are readily available and worn by surgeons, so they don’t transfer germs to their patients. They serve to protect others from getting sick, by blocking large drops and particles from mouth and nose of wearer. However, a loose fit leaves room for error and they don’t necessarily protect a healthy person from acquiring the virus.  Many of these masks may be more effective when actually doubled up.

Homemade masks

If you are a bit creative or handy, it’s quite easy to make a mask for yourself or your children. Just take an old 100% cotton t-shirt that’s not super thin.  You can either use a sewing machine or you can even make a mask in a few minutes, without any sewing whatsoever.  You will also need a ruler and scissors.  The t-shirt should be at least 16 inches wide. First, cut two one-inch strips for the side strings.  These should be about 16-19 inches long.  Then cut a square (with even edges) from the bottom. Cut an 8-inch strip for adult mask, 7 inches for a teen mask and 6 inches for a child. You will need to fold the sides over and put the strings through it. To visually watch how to create this mask, search “DIY Face Mask (No Sew) upcycled t-shirt 5 minutes” on YouTube (

100% Cotton, washable and reusable face masks with
a 2.5 PM carbon filter

I recently purchased a few of these from Lidor and Devorah Cohen of Kew Gardens Hills. Since 2005, they have operated a quality, cutting edge apparel business, which services the resort fashion industry. Due to the current Corona crisis and high demand for face masks, they stepped up to the plate and began producing quality masks that are both comfortable and attractive.  I love the pretty blue color and found the fit to be great as well.  It’s made from a very comfortable double layer of breathable cotton. They also sell an effective 2.5 PM carbon filter, which gets inserted in between the two layers. The mask itself is reusable and I have machine washed and dried it, after first removing the carbon filter. To order these items, you can call 646-436-0333.

Since masks have now become the new reality, you will want to sport something attractive and comfortable. May we soon see an end to this plague and only utilize face masks to combat pollution and hay fever.

Risselle Naimark is a Professional Freelance Makeup Artist and Skincare Consultant. She carries an extensive line of personalized skincare, cosmetics, and anti-aging products. Risselle is also available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, makeup lessons, and all of your beauty needs. She can be reached at 718 263-5517.